The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA079- 20 July 2006

Diplomatic Appointment – Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

I announce today the appointment of Mr Mike Smith as Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism.  He will replace Mr Les Luck, who has been Ambassador since August 2003.  Mr Smith takes up his position immediately.

The position of the Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism reflects the continuing high priority the Government attaches to fighting terrorism at home and in our region.  It has also enhanced the wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral measures already taken by the Government since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. 

As part of the 2006/07 budget, the Government has provided an additional $92.6 million dollars over the next four years to boost Australia’s capacity to work with regional partners to combat the continuing and evolving threat of terrorism. 

The Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism is responsible for the development and implementation of Australia’s international counter-terrorism policy.  The Ambassador has a key role in ensuring a coherent and effective approach to Australia’s counter-terrorism cooperation with both regional and extra-regional partners.  This entails identifying needs and opportunities for practical action to counter the terrorist threat and maximising Australia’s capacity to respond to these internationally. 

As Chair of the Government’s International CT Coordination Group, the Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism will work closely with an array of Australian agencies to ensure that Australia’s considerable national capacities are brought to bear against our offshore vulnerabilities. 

Mr Smith was most recently Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.  Prior to taking up this position in April 2002, Mr Smith served as Chief of Staff, Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (1998 – 2002).

Mr Smith has held a number of overseas positions including Ambassador to Egypt (1995-98), Minister (Political), Australian Embassy,Washington (1993‑95), Ambassador to Algeria (1989-91) and Counsellor, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN, Geneva (1986-89).  In Canberra he has served in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Legal Adviser and Assistant Secretary, Refugees, Immigration and Asylum (1991-93) and as Head of the Multilateral and Humanitarian Legal Section (1984-86).  

Mr Smith was born in Adelaide in 1949.  He speaks Arabic and French.  He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Adelaide University and is married with two adult children.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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